In 2013, Janet Yellen became the first female chair of the Federal Reserve. I suspect misogynists would’ve protested the appointment, but they were busy trying to figure out how to restrict women’s access to birth control. At any rate, how can a WOMAN supervise all the Man-monies, and WAIT, CAN WOMEN EVEN DO MATH?! The overall political climate of 2013 really overshadowed the entire moment, and as usual, most Americans were too busy not paying attention to notice.
Yellen’s groundbreaking appointment to the Federal Reserve (hello! FIRST. FEMALE. CHAIR. EVER.), shines light on the fact that even though women have been welcomed to chief positions in some departments – Commerce and Interior, for example – other departments have reserved chair positions for old men – I’m looking at you Federal Reserve and Treasury. Some would argue that women are better suited for the roles in those departments while men are better left to anything that doesn’t require them to interact with the public. A tragic life of whiteness and money tends to leave the aged person with social skills reminiscent of petulant children.
While Yellen is the first female Chairman (Chairwoman? Chairperson?) of the Federal Reserve, every U.S Treasurer since President Truman appointed Georgia Neese Clark to the (largely ceremonial) role in 1949 has been a woman. Some Treasurers have even been women of color, if you can believe it! The role of Treasurer is typically reserved for a person who has shown great loyalty and favor toward whichever political party/leader is rising to power at that time, a sort of “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” arrangement. This is arguably why, for a total of nine of the last sixty years, the position was vacant – nobody needed their back scratched that badly.
All sarcasm aside, President Truman’s appointment of a female U.S. Treasurer paved the way for women (and minorities) in high profile government positions. A seemingly simple move quickly established female presence in the role as the rule and not the exception. The real issue is that so few other positions have been open to women in government. Women are here, are part of this country, and have every capability necessary to participate in the creation, implementation, and adjustment of policies for any and every department in this nation’s government. President Truman may have opened the door for women at the Treasury Department, but it would be nice if the doors of neighboring departments would be opened, too.